Sadananda Gowda, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, was famous when he took office for his perma-grin. His eleven months in office have severely tested his good humour. And in less than a week, Mr Gowda will have even less to smile about - he will be asked to make way for Jagadish Shettar as the head of the BJP's only government in the South.
"I am ready for any decision. I will not treat any decision as either sweet or bitter," Mr Gowda had told reporters yesterday.
In Mr Gowda's exit lies the return to power of BS Yeddyurappa, his one-time mentor. In July last year, after being indicted for corruption by the state ombudsman, Mr Yeddyurappa was asked to quit the Chief Minister's office. He picked Mr Gowda to succeed him, confident that he would remain the power behind the throne.
But this year, Mr Yeddyurappa has revolted repeatedly, rustling together more than half of the BJP's state legislators into rebels whose cause was to help him regain office. When the party's leadership made it clear that would not be possible, Mr Yeddyurappa decided he would be content if Mr Shettar, another leader from his Lingayat caste, was installed in office.
Last week, nine ministers quit the government, demanding that Mr Gowda be replaced. They withdrew their resignations after they were assured that their request would not be treated lightly.
"A decision from the high command is likely to be conveyed within a week. We have left everything to the party leadership now. Their decision will be acceptable to us," Mr Shettar, who currently holds the Rural Development portfolio, told the Press Trust of India.
The decision will have to be ratified by the BJP Parliamentary Board, the highest decision-making body of the party, but sources say the BJP is keen to retire the incessant threat of a party split wide open directed by Mr Yeddyurappa.
The BJP wanted to delay the change in leadership till after the elections for the President of India are held on July 19. Their candidate is PA Sangma; he is taking on the UPA's Pranab Mukherjee. But an unhappy Mr Yeddyurappa could have meant a large section of the party's legislators from Karnataka would be tempted to vote against their own candidate in a show of defiance and strength.
There's also the fact that the new session of the Karnataka Assembly begins on July 16, and Mr Yeddyurappa's considerable faction would have publicly embarrassed the party by refusing to show.
"Whatever the decision the high command takes, we will all abide by it", state unit BJP President K S Eswarappa had told reporters.